Queensland to reintroduce gendered statutory language

Kathrine Galloway

Research output: Contribution to journalOnline ResourceProfessional


On 19 March, the Queensland Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie, introduced the Crime and Misconduct and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 to Parliament. The Bill is designed to respond to two inquiries into the working of Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission. The Bill has been roundly criticised - not least by Tony Fitzgerald QC, who has described it as 'a gross abuse of power'.

In this post however, I will examine the legitimacy of a lower profile change proposed by the Bill: the renaming of the head of the CMC from 'chairperson' to 'chairman'. See eg clause 35:

35 Amendment of s 224 (Qualifications for appointment as the chairperson)

(1) Section 224, heading, ‘as the chairperson’—
omit, insert—

chairman and deputy chairman

(2) Section 224, ‘chairperson if’—
omit, insert—
chairman or deputy chairman if

It would, I imagine, be argued that there is no legal effect to the change. Section 32B of the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld) provides:

In an Act, words indicating a gender include each other gender.
This would mean that legally, there would be no barrier to the appointment of a woman to the job of 'chairman' of the CMC because chair 'man' includes a woman. There are however four reasons why this is not only a retrograde step, but an indefensible one.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurl: Property law, women and law, contemporary legal issues
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


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